The Boston Celtics know they’ll be losing Kyrie Irving and getting Kemba Walker, but they’re reportedly interested in some extra maneuvering to help themselves in the free agent market.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Celtics are interested in a sign-and-trade that would send Irving to the Brooklyn Nets and Terry Rozier to the Charlotte Hornets. This would allow the Celtics to create a full mid-level exception to bring in another supporting free agent.
This is why the Celtics have not yet renounced the rights to Rozier, a restricted free agent. Given that Rozier has interest elsewhere, he may not be happy about it, but with Boston still in control of his rights, there’s not a lot he can do. While not close, it’s a glimpse into the chatter going on behind the scenes to make all this roster shuffling work in an efficient way for everyone.
The Charlotte Hornets have the ability to offer Kemba Walker a contract that no other team could come close to matching, but they clearly do not value the star point guard enough to use that to their advantage.
By being named to an All-NBA team this past season, Walker became eligible to sign a five-year, $221 million supermax contract with the Hornets. They could also offer him a regular max deal which would be worth $190 million over five years. The most any other team can offer Walker is a four-year, $140 million contract. However, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reports that Charlotte’s best offer to this point was $160 million over five years.
That means the Hornets offered Walker only $20 million more in total money than he can get from another team. If those figures are accurate, Charlotte’s offer would be worth about $3 million less from an average annual value standpoint than a max contract he could get from another team. It’s no surprise, then, that both Smith and his colleague Adrian Wojnarowski are reporting that Walker is expected to sign with the Celtics.
The Hornets have never paid luxury tax during Michael Jordan’s tenure as owner of the team, and it makes no sense to start now. They already know what they can be with Walker, which is a borderline playoff team that probably won’t advance past the first round. Walker may simply be more valuable to a team like the Celtics than he is to the Hornets.
The Charlotte Hornets have the ability to dwarf other teams with the contract they can offer Kemba Walker, but they may not be willing to give the star point guard all the money he is entitled to.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that Walker and the Hornets are at a “stalemate” in contract talks, and that has increased the likelihood of Walker signing with another team. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Boston Celtics are currently considered the favorite.
We can probably assume that means the Hornets do not want to give Walker a supermax contract. By being named to an All-NBA team this past season, Walker became eligible for a five-year, $221 million supermax contract with the Hornets. They could also offer him a regular max deal which would be worth $190 million over five years. The most any other team can offer Walker is a four-year, $140 million contract.
It would be difficult to imagine Walker leaving more than $80 million on the table to sign with another team, but perhaps the gap between what the Hornets are willing to offer and what other teams can offer is not that large. Walker previously indicated that he wants to stay in Charlotte and would consider taking less than the supermax.
Kyrie Irving is expected to leave the Celtics when free agency begins, and Walker is the type of unselfish player who could thrive in Brad Stevens’ system. He is also close with Jayson Tatum and would have a much better shot at contending in the East in Boston than he would in Charlotte. The idea of Walker signing with the Celtics is gaining more steam by the day.
The NBA Draft is important for every team. It’s a chance to bring new, young talent into the organization. Teams that consistently get it right often line themselves up for years of success. Remember, before all the Kevin Durant hoopla, the Golden State Warriors were built almost exclusively through the draft process, with both Splash Brothers among the team’s first-round picks.
However, some teams need draft success more than others. They may be facing a long rebuild if they can’t keep the continuity going, or an even longer one than they’re already in if they get things wrong. Here are ten teams that really need to nail the NBA Draft, or the futures of their franchise could get quite bleak.
10. San Antonio Spurs
It’s been two years since the Spurs made it out of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, a rather unprecedented drought for the Gregg Popovich era. The Spurs always find players somewhere, even as they lose veterans. LaMarcus Aldridge, 34 in July, is the next big name to face the aging curve, and San Antonio really need an infusion of young talent on the roster here. This will only be the third time since the selection of Tim Duncan No. 1 that the Spurs will draft in the top 20. To keep the immensely successful run going, they need to get the 19th pick right.
Kemba Walker has said numerous times that his top choice this offseason would be re-signing with the Charlotte Hornets, and he may even be willing to give the team a hometown discount to make that happen.
Walker became eligible for a supermax contract when he made the All-NBA Third Team this season, and the Hornets can pay him as much as $221 million over five years. When asked on Thursday if he would consider taking less than that to help Charlotte build a better roster around him, Walker said that is a possibility.
“Yeah, why not. I would be. I would take less, for sure,” the point guard said, per Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
Walker reiterated that the Hornets are his “first priority,” but he said he is prepared to play elsewhere if it doesn’t work out. The most another team can offer him is a four-year, $140 million deal, so New Orleans has a big advantage. Even if Walker takes less than the $221 million, he could still, in theory, make a lot more from the Hornets than any other team.
There has been some talk about the New York Knicks potentially trying to pry Walker away from Charlotte, but one report claims they may be fighting an uphill battle. Unless something changes, all signs continue to point to Walker re-signing with the Hornets.
While much of the intrigue focuses on what may happen toward the top of the NBA Draft, there are also teams outside of the top ten trying to get into it.
According to Rick Bonnell of The Observer, the Charlotte Hornets are actively trying to move up from No. 12 in the draft, though they may not have the firepower to get it done.
The Hornets are in an interesting spot. They missed the playoffs in the Eastern Conference by two games last season, and are trying to retain their best player and build around him. Securing a better draft pick could be a part of that, but it’s unclear who would want to trade down, and what they’d want in order to do so.
The biggest story facing the Charlotte Hornets this offseason will be Kemba Walker’s free agency and whether he’ll still be with the team going forward.
Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak said Friday that the team is all-in on trying to retain Walker, and will do everything possible to keep him with the organization.
This will be easier said than done. The Hornets just haven’t been a contending organization, and the chance to hit the open market and find a fit with a brighter future may well appeal to the star guard. On the other hand, Walker has said he wants to stay with the team, and they can offer him the most money. Will two playoff appearances in eight years — and no promise of brighter days to come — be enough to keep him around? That’s the big question.
The Charlotte Hornets still haven’t completed a trade for Marc Gasol, but it sounds like the player still expects them to.
According to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, Gasol still anticipates landing with the Hornets, though the situation became less clear after a trade failed to materialize on Tuesday night after appearing close.
Talks centered around Gasol were serious enough that the center was held out of the Memphis Grizzlies’ Tuesday night contest. The fact that it didn’t happen appeared to be because of some work to do on matching salaries, but things are clearly still on the table.
After 17 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, Tony Parker is moving on.
According to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, Parker is joining the Charlotte Hornets in free agency.
Parker’s countryman Nicolas Batum confirmed that a deal was complete.
This is definitely a shock, but there were reasons to believe it was coming. Parker received a lot of interest outside of San Antonio, and the Hornets presented an ideal situation for him. The new coach, James Borrego, is a former Spurs assistant who knows Parker well. The Hornets can also boast Batum, who has played with Parker on the French national team.
Parker had also hinted at leaving the Spurs before free agency opened. It will be intriguing to see what they do next.
Dwight Howard’s stay with the Hornets will be a very brief one, as Charlotte has reportedly agreed to send the star big man to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for fellow big man Timofey Mozgov.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets are also sending two future draft picks and cash to the Hornets for Howard and his expiring contract.
Howard had his best season offensively in a while in Charlotte, as he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. The 32-year-old had averaged 13.5 points per game with the Atlanta Hawks last season and 13.7 with the Houston Rockets the year before that. The Hornets will be Mozgov’s sixth NBA team in seven seasons.
Howard recently opened up about the day he considered one of the worst of his NBA career and life.